Getting a tan just isn’t an option these days. You can’t get a natural tan and keep your skin safe from the sun’s damaging rays and health risks like melanoma. Tanning beds, which expose the skin to harmful UVA and UVB rays at higher levels, are no better. In fact, those that spent just 10 sessions a year inside a tanning bed are seven times more likely to develop melanoma later in life, according to Health Central. I don’t know about you, but that’s not ok by me.
Beyond the skin cancer risk, exposure to real UVA and UVB rays can have cosmetic repercussions as well. Visible damage to the skin can include freckles, a leather-like appearance, and wrinkles. But you don’t have to sacrifice your health to look good this summer.
The Myth of Faux Tanning
It’s a common misconception that you can’t look natural wearing “faux” tanners. The quality of the product matters, so choose wisely. It is true that cheaper tanners, the “quickest” working ones, tend to leave you looking a bit orange. But test products before you slather yourself in them to be safe.
Your choices are simple: chemical or cosmetic. Chemical options-self-tanning lotions or spray tans-dye the outer layer of the skin with DHA (dihydroxyacentone), which is completely safe. You can use at-home gels or liquids, or visit a specialty boutique for a spray tan. But be careful. Too much can still make you look like an orange, and once it’s on there, you have to wait for it to fade.
If this is your first time using a self-tanner or tanning spray, don’t do so just before an important event, date, or photo opportunity. It’s not worth the risk of an allergic reaction, a too-heavy application, or a color that isn’t flattering on you. Test, test, test!
Make It Up
There are other ways to get that “sun-kissed” look. Bronzers, usually powder or liquid, are solely cosmetic and can reap big benefits when applied properly. You apply them just like makeup. On the plus side, you can control how dark you go. But unfortunately, you might need to learn how to use it and you’ll have to reapply every day.
For a general, light application of bronzer, use a big round brush (usually sold with the bronzer). Use a light dusting across your forehead, on your cheekbones, the tip of your nose, and your chin. Essentially, you want to apply bronzer anywhere the sun would tan your face (jf you allowed yourself out without sunscreen on!) This is the best way to recreate a natural “tan” look.
When used correctly, both spray tanners and bronzers can give you a natural, day-at-the-beach glow. It’s up to you how much time, money, and effort you invest in tanned-looking skin.
Consumer Search. “Sunless Tanning: Full Report.”
Health Central. “The Dangers of Tanning Beds.”